The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s global health program is partnering with the Institut Pasteur Dakar in Senegal to advance infectious disease research in West Africa.
The CVM and IPD will support pilot research projects led by faculty from both institutions. The two institutions are also developing training programs for students and researchers on laboratory and professional development skills. The CVM hosted a three-day workshop in April with IPD researchers to discuss major disease threats in the area and long-term research goals.
“Much of our expertise lies in viral diseases like Zika and yellow fever, but our new goal is to expand our focus to diarrhea, because it is one of the No. 1 killers in our country,” said Amadou Alpha Sall, IPD scientific director. “We want to partner with CVM faculty because their expertise in specific research areas will help us build a foundation for sustainable research and train our students and researchers in practical techniques.”
Based in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, IPD is a nonprofit organization managed by Senegal’s government and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The institute is a major biomedical research center for West Africa.
“The workshop was an opportunity for all of us to get to know each other and figure out how we can unite our strengths to maximize our impact,” said Sid Thakur, CVM director of global health.
One of Senegal’s main priorities is combating diarrheal disease. Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of child mortality, and the burden is particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, diarrhea affects almost 1.7 billion children each year, according to the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes the condition leads to more than 2,000 childhood deaths per day.
Although antibiotics effectively treat bacterial diarrhea, the rising prevalence of antibiotic resistance around the world makes diarrhea increasingly difficult to treat. The CVM is home to world-leading experts in livestock health, zoonotic diseases (which transfer from animals to humans), gastrointestinal biology and antimicrobial resistance.
“It was an absolute pleasure to welcome our colleagues from Senegal to NC State,” said CVM Dean Paul Lunn. “It’s clear we have major areas of overlapping interests and expertise that could be leveraged to achieve something really impactful for the people and animals in West Africa.”